A garment steamer, also known as a fabric steamer, is a device that uses steam to remove wrinkles on clothes and fabric. This contrasts with the typical iron, which uses heat to press out creases and folds on clothes. Through steam, garments’ fibers become relaxed and could be smoothed out gently.
Why use garment steamers? Steam is definitely less harsh than heat, and so using garment steamers is a way to better take care of your clothes. There is also less chance of your clothes being burned or scorched with this process. Also, you wouldn’t need an ironing board; all you’d need is your garment steamer, water, and a place to hang your garment. However, a steamer board with board covers could make your steaming faster and easier.
Garment steamers are ideal for use on velvet, satin and silk fabrics.
If you’re interested in learning how to iron with a garment steamer, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Prepare your equipment. As mentioned above, all you’d need to start your steam press is your garment steamer, water and a place to hang your garment. Fill up your garment steamer with water (read the manufacturer’s instructions as to the appropriate water level). Turn the steamer on, and wait a few minutes for it to heat up. Meanwhile, hang your garment with a clothes hanger; make sure it hangs straight down.
- Begin steaming. Direct the steam from the nozzle to your garment. Make sure that you steam starting from the bottom going to the center, and upwards. After some steaming, let go of your steamer and use your hands to smooth the garment. Steam again. Expect more time steaming for heavy garments. For very delicate fabrics, regulate the amount of steam that you direct towards it; make sure it doesn’t get too much. For embellished fabrics, you could steam from the wrong side.
- Give some time for it to dry. After steaming, expect your garment to be a little damp. Leave it to air dry for about 30 minutes before wearing it or putting it away in your closet.
- Seek professional services. You may opt to hire the professional steamers to do your garment pressing for you. Inquire at your local cleaners as to how much they charge for their steaming services. You could likely get discounts if you hire their cleaning in conjunction with steaming and pressing services.
A steam press would definitely be a nice alternative to your heavy ironing chores. Also, know that a steam press is useful not just for smoothing out the wrinkles from your clothes, but also for freshening up your curtains, your car upholstery, your upholstered furniture, and your cloth shower curtains. Know, however, that as steam is much gentler on fabric, it does not give the crisp look to your clothes that a hot iron would give. So an option you might consider would be to steam your clothes on a regular basis and reserve the ironing for special occasions.